Back in late 2011 and early 2012, I was considering quitting gaming for an extended period of time due to the general lack of upcoming games I thought were worthy of my time. Kickstarter changed that by giving a chance for game developers and to try revitalizing and recreating old genres, ideas and sensibilities, or create something entirely different and new.
Yes, there are some definite downsides to Kickstarter, but one thing that cannot be denied is that it’s become the platform for an alternative growth of games based in sensibilities completely counter to the dominate video game development culture. These games aren’t mired in hitting demographics or being mega-blockbusters but in achieving a creative vision. This post will highlight the projects I’ve found worth contributing to, plan to buy on release, or am keeping on my radar for future reference. Also, if you are interested in any of these games, click on the image, which will link to their Kickstarter page.
What I Backed
Fallout is my favorite game. It owes much to the original Wasteland (which I haven’t played). Brian Fargo and Interplay produced many of my favorite games and seeing Fargo’s passion to realize a traditional, old school CRPG with its roots in multiple approaches to gameplay and challenging combat. And the turn-based hex grid combat is a godsend. This is the Kickstarter game I’m most eager to play.
There are a lot of small-team indie projects, and I’m wary of backing these given that many of these developers haven’t proven themselves yet. However FTL presented a simplistic, compelling hook of spaceship management and survival and much of it was already presentable by the time the Kickstarter started, that I felt I was sure to get something special from it. So far it’s the only game I’ve backed that has come out and while it didn’t live up to my wildest dreams, I sunk a lot of hours into this little title and certainly got my money’s worth.
I went ahead and preordered this today after watching the gameplay demo. I was happy to see an RPG based on a pen and paper game, but I had no familiarity with the Shadowrun property or the developers so I decided to wait and see what it would look like. It looks fantastic. Turn-based combat! Awww yea! Turn-based is the future.
Brian Mitsoda, half of the Mitsoda couple responsible for this game, worked on such games as Bloodlines, Icewind Dale and Mask of the Betrayer. I’ve been following this one for a couple of years and once they announced their Kickstarter, I knew it was a must back. It’s X-COM squad combat combined with more traditional RPG elements in a zombie apocalypse.
I love Obsidian…most of the time. In a world where major publishers had no interest in a challenging and creative CRPG, Obsidian has been able to find a comfortable compromise between modern popular gaming tastes and traditional role-playing and strong storytelling. I prefer their modern take to Fallout with New Vegas, which provided more compelling questing and more meaningful choices that exist in morally grey areas. Project Eternity as a spiritual successor to the Infinity Engine games sounds too good to be true. But if any team can do it, it’s Obsidian.
I regret never getting into the space sim genre. When I was in my PC gaming prime, it was too hard to find any titles and by the time I did have access to some of the classics like Freespace and Wing Commander, I found myself distracted by other titles. That, and I’ve always sucked at flying in games…even in space. I often find myself disoriented when having to factor in the z-axis. I want to see this style of game make a comeback even though I don’t have a personal connection to it. The potential is great and if this game can deliver a fourth of what it promises, I think it will be something special and wonderful.
The most recent Kickstarter (and still in progress), this game a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, which boasts the best story I’ve experienced in a game. While I know some are worried about both the lack of Chris Avellone and the fact this Kickstarter starts before Wasteland 2, I feel those worries are easily dismissible. The title boasts acclaimed developers with roots in the pen and paper genre. Also, they’re adapting the series to a new universe and a set of role playing rules which will give them more freedom to work out some of the kinks of the original Torment. I think this has the potential to be the best of the bunch if it can deliver on the presentation and storytelling that is being touted.
What I May Buy
I couldn’t back everything. Here is what I missed but plan to buy at some point.
Biggest regret. Love X-COM: UFO Defense/Enemy Unknown. One of my all-time favorites. Seeing an update on the series with new art and better balancing makes me happy. However, I think I was a bit worried 2K might can the project, especially after announcing their own new version of X-COM in the turn-based vein. Now that it seems like it will happen I wish I had backed it. I should really preorder this one.
Yes, they’re a great studio, but I’ll be honest, adventure games are one of those genres that I don’t have a ton of affection for. I love some of them, but I hate just as many. I really want to see what the story and characters are like before I buy in and the fact they had none of that meant I wasn’t interested. Once they show it, I imagine it’ll look great and I’ll buy it, but until then, I’m saving my money.
I love Revolution Software. Broken Sword I & II and Beneath a Steel Sky are among my favorite adventure games. Hearing they plan to go back to 2D adventures (woo, no more crate puzzles!) makes me happy. The reason I probably didn’t back was that money was probably a bit tight at that time as I just came back from a trip and wasn’t sure if I would need the money for other things. Since I missed it, I’ll wait for release. Also, crazy happy to hear they are making a Beneath a Steel Sky 2. Not sure if they plan on Kickstarting that, but I would totally buy it.
The RTS genre is partially responsible for getting me into PC games, but I got in around the time they seemed to be declining. Yes, we got Starcraft II, which I love, but I’d love to see more plurailty in the genre (and no, I don’t consider Relic’s games strict RTSs, or at least not my kind of RTS). This looks like a fresh, exciting take on the genre that takes advantage of technology as well as recent experimentation in trying to bring the genre back. Looking forward to picking up this one. Might wait for a sale.
I’ve played a bit of the recently release FTP MP only Factions version of this game and I like the combat design, but I think it’ll be waiting for the single-player version of this tactical-turn based game. As much as I love turn-based combat, I’m not a big fan of playing it multiplayer.
On My Radar
I’ll just rattle these off since this post is getting a bit crazy and out of hand now. These are all games that I think show promise but I’m waiting to hear the response from once they have been released.